For each conference, a small number of Emerging Scholar Awards are given to outstanding graduate students and emerging scholars who have an active research interest in the conference themes. Emerging Scholars perform a critical role in the conference by chairing the parallel sessions, providing technical assistance in the sessions, and presenting their own research papers. The 2021 Emerging Scholar Award Recipients are as follows:
Kayte Thomas received her BSW from Meredith College and her MSW from North Carolina State University. She is a licensed clinical social worker in North Carolina and a certified clinical trauma professional. Her diverse experience includes birth defects advocacy, developmental disability support, mental health, and refugee resettlement. Kayte is a passionate advocate for social justice and enjoys guiding new social workers through clinical supervision and her adjunct professor role at Baylor. Her research is focused on trauma and resiliency in Syrian refugee mothers and she is interested in global issues of maternal health as well as intergenerational trauma transmission. She hopes to transition to a full time professor role in the near future.
Ari Wibowo, M.Sc. is Manager of Knowledge Management at the Center for Agrarian Studies - IPB University & the Teaching Team at the Department of Communication Science and Community Development, Faculty of Human Ecology - IPB University. He is also a teaching team at the Leadership and Policy Innovation Program, Graduate School – Universitas Gadjah Mada. He has a study focus, namely related to policy innovation; the political ecology of natural resources; agrarian reform in coastal and small islands; indigenous people and rural communities. Ari is also a scholar-activist for research-based policy advocacy in the Government and Civil Society Organizations (Fellow Researcher at Sajogyo Institute, Greenpeace Indonesia, Institute for Research and Empowerment / IRE Yogyakarta, Rimbawan Muda Indonesia, National Committee for Indonesian Family Farming, & Consortium for Agrarian Reform)
Dr. Gyan holds a PhD in Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Master of Philosophy degree in Social Work from the University of Ghana. He is an Assistant Professor of Social Work and Social Policy at the School of Social Work, McGill University. He is a fellow of several Canadian research centers including the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC), the Tshepo Institute for the Study of Contemporary Africa (TISCA) and the Manulife Centre for Community Health Research. His practice experience has been in the areas of community organizing, social policy analysis, and program development and evaluation. Dr. Gyan blends academic and research interests with his interest and commitment to Social policy change, transnational social work practice and community development. His program of research is founded on his deeply held commitment to social justice. Through research he seeks to uncover, disrupt, and challenge dogmas, structures, and discourses that produce and preserve subjugation and oppression of marginalized groups. He employs multi research methods (qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method) to produce knowledge that questions and disrupts oppressive gender discourses, enhances social planning, and promotes marginalized groups’ full inclusion in society through social policies, community development and program development. The overall goal of his research program is to inform policy and other systems-level interventions to promote the full inclusion of marginalized groups.
Dr. Zelma Mokobane is a PhD holder in Educational Psychology with the University of the Free State, Currently she is a lecturer at the University of Pretoria (South Africa), lecturing to both undergrads and postgrads. Prior she was an inclusive education lecturer at the University of the Free State (South Africa). Her educational experiences and background propelled her to focus on issues of empowerment, social justice, diversity, multicultural education and culturally responsive education. She is currently running a research project in South African schools namely: Learning without limits: Exploring Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) in South Africa. She has published several articles and has attended conferences both nationally and internationally.
Meline Grigoryan is an Armenian based education researcher and trainer. She is the Manager of Education Programs at COAF, a non-profit organization seeking to advance rural communities by improving education, healthcare, economic development, and village life. With 12 years of experience in education and research, Meline believes that education should be fulfilled with positive and motivational aspects. Meline has gained her experience in the education field being a teacher, teacher trainer, program manager, author and more. She has pursued her Bachelor’s philology and pedagogy, Masters in Public Administration and PhD in Inclusive education Management from Brusov State University (Yerevan).
Dr. Monica Lakhwani is the Multicultural Specialist for Diversity, Equity and Poverty Programs with Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS). She is responsible for facilitating cultural competency training for district and community organizations. Additionally, she serves as a Humanities/ESL adjunct in the Louisville Metropolitan Area, leads the district's LGBTQ Advisory Committee, and continues to participate with World Affairs Council in hosting international dinners and homestays for students.
Dr. Lakhwani is a Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED) trainer and facilitates Diversity/Justice Cohorts each year empowering positive change. She received her doctorate from Spalding University in Educational Leadership focusing on cross-cultural studies. Her interests lie in socio-cultural norms, refugee resettlement, and diverse learners. In her spare time, she loves to read and travel; and is a mother, daughter, and spouse
The experience of taking part in such a conference has been a real eye-opener. My work has gained recognition and it has led to a boost to my career as well as to my self-confidence. "
I was able to make affiliations and gain experience in the field. My work is all about diversity in organizations, therefore, it provides me with more credibility and support in future works that I have underway."
Interacting with and learning about new pedagogical tools that can be used to promote diversity in the classroom was my favorite part of the conference experience."